Moving to Portland, Oregon and don’t know where to start? Relocating to a new city is always a little difficult. You’ve got to develop new routines, don’t have any favorite spots, and may not even know which neighborhood is right for you.
In this month’s post, we’ll review some resources to help you with your move to Portland. We’ll start with everything you need to find a place to live, and then we’ll take a look at tips to help you develop a balanced life here in the City of Roses.
Portland: A City of Neighborhoods
There are so many unique areas Portland to explore and experience. If you haven’t spent much time here yet, it will be hard to know what part might be a good fit for you.
Take a look at the below resources to get a sense of the many different parts of the city.
Know Your Quadrants
The city of Portland is broken down into 5 geographically divided quadrants:
- North Portland (N Portland)
- Northeast Portland (NE Portland)
- Southeast Portland (SE Portland)
- Southwest Portland (SW Portland)
- Northwest Portland (NW Portland)
The 5 quadrants are roughly broken up by the Willamette River, separating east and west, and Burnside Street, separating north and south (North Portland lies roughly between the Willamette River and Williams Ave).
For more information on what makes each quadrant of the city special, see our Guide to Portland’s 5 Quadrants.
Get a Sense of the Neighborhoods
While there are only 5 quadrants in the city, each is home to countless neighborhoods with their own vibe, community, and aesthetic.
We’ve outlined some of our favorite neighborhoods below.
- The Hawthorne Neighborhood: This SE Portland neighborhood is known for its bohemian attitude and restaurant and shop-lined streets. Learn More
- The Foster-Powell Neighborhood: Foster-Powell is an up-and-coming SE neighborhood known for its thriving food scene, beautiful parks, and newly renovated homes. Learn More
- The Ladd’s Addition Neighborhood: This SE Portland neighborhood is known for its quirky layout and community rose gardens. Learn More
- The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood: Centered around Mt. Tabor, a beautiful SE park containing an extinct volcanic cinder cone, this area is known for its green spaces and elegant homes. Learn More
- The Montgomery Park Neighborhood: This NW Portland neighborhood has walkable streets, endless entertainment, and is a short walk away from Forest Park. Learn More
- The St. Johns Neighborhood: Featuring a small-town atmosphere, a quaint main street, and the most beautiful bridge in Portland, St. Johns in North Portland is one of the most unique spots in the city. Learn More
- The Alberta and Mississippi Neighborhoods: The Alberta and Mississippi neighborhoods are as quintessentially Portland as anywhere else in the city. Learn More
While Portland is a large city and can suffer from congested streets, there are so many great ways to get around the city.
Portland Public Transit
US News ranked Portland the #1 city for public transport, and the light rail and streetcar systems are still growing. TriMet also offers a number of bus routes to connect you to anywhere you need to go in the metropolitan area. Learn more about TriMet and their available lines by reading their Riders Guide.
Biking in Portland
7.2% of commuters go by bike in Portland, and for good reason. The city has a number of bike-dedicated streets and even more bike paths, making biking both safe and accessible to riders of all comfort and skill levels. There is even a bike sharing program called BikeTown that allows you to easily rent and drop off bikes across the city. Learn more about how Portland is a bikers paradise with this Portland Bikers Guide.
Driving in Portland
While there are a number of alternative ways to get around the city, Portland still has one of the most progressive and innovative city planning initiatives in the country. WIth I5, I84, and a host of other major streets, driving in and out of Portland is a breeze compared to most other major cities. Learn more about driving in Portland.
Portland is known as “The City that Works” for a reason. From schools to parks, Portland knows how to provide for its residents.
Portland’s public school system is known as Portland Public Schools. PPS offers K-12 education throughout the city. Using their website, you’ll be able to find the school nearest you and even enroll.
Portland is known for its many parks and public green spaces. While there are countless parks to check out and enjoy, below we’ve listed a couple of our favorites for you to visit when you get to town.
- Forest Park: One of the largest urban parks in the country, Forest Park boasts over 70 miles of hiking trails and is a great place to take in wildlife right here in the city.
- Laurelhurst Park: Known for its beautiful trees and large dog-park, Laurelhurst Park is a great place for a bike ride or run right in the middle of one of Portland’s most popular neighborhoods.
- Mt. Tabor Park: Features 200 acres of tree-lined public space filled with running and hiking trails, picnic spots, and viewpoints.
- Overlook Park: Featuring a beautiful lookout over downtown Portland and a plethora of playing fields, this park is a unique blend of natural beauty and activity.
Explore all the parks in Portland, or find a park in your neighborhood using the Portland Parks Website.
Police and First Responders
The best communities have good relationships with the local police force. Know where your local police station is and how your precinct is interacting with the community.
The Portland Police Department’s website offers resources and a calendar of community events. You’ll also find the location of your local station, and will be able to get a sense of the community policing efforts in your area.
What to Do in the City
Moving is not all work! Once you get settled in, you’re going to want to go out and explore! And boy, did you pick a good one!
Know the Hot Spots
When exploring your new city, you are always going to want to develop your own routines and favorite spots.
We still want to give you a bit of a heads up what our favorite hot spots are, though!
Some of our favorite things to do in Portland:
- OMSI After Dark: Science museums aren’t just for kids! Check out this adult-only time to check out one of the nation’s great science museums. Perfect for date night!
- Movies in The Park: Every summer, Portland’s many parks host movie night! Check the schedule every spring to see what parks will be playing which movies.
- See The Thorns Play: The Portland Thorns are the city’s NWSL (national women’s soccer league) team. With some of the best female players in the country, they are a must-see for any sports fan.
See more of our 11 Hot Spots Only Portland Locals Know About
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Restaurants and Bars
With so many great places to eat and drink, it can be hard to know where is actually good. While there is no definitive list of the cities most up-and-coming restaurants and bars, following a couple key feeds will keep you in the know:
- Eater PDX: The Portland branch of the popular food blog Eater, Eater PDX will keep you up-to-date with restaurant openings and what people in the know are eating.
- Willamette Week Restaurant Guide: This is the yearly restaurant guide of the Willamette Week, Portland’s top alternative weekly. A great resource to find a Friday night meal for you and your partner.
Experience The Great Outdoors
With so many great hikes and outdoor activities in the area, it can be hard to know where to turn for a recommendation! Luckily, there are a number of great books and blogs out there that will put you on the right path.
Below, we’ve listed some of our top resources for finding great hikes and adventures to fill up your Pacific Northwest summers and winters.
- Curious Gorge: Ask any Portlander what the best way to find a great hike in the Columbia River Gorge is and they’ll all tell you the same thing: Curious Gorge. The book features a curated set of Gorge hikes that will give you all the info you need to have the hike of a lifetime.
- NWHiker.com: Though not curated (meaning you’ll have to go in with a recommendation), NWHiker offers a free and up-to-date resource on trail information for outdoor areas in both Oregon and Washington.
- Outdoor Project: Though not specific to Oregon, Outdoor Project offers great information for adventure seekers here in Oregon.
Looking for a Home in Oregon?
Buy from someone who knows Portland. We at Columbia Redevelopment can help find you your own piece of Portland to set down roots. Give us a call at (503) 200-8730 or contact us online to see what we have available.